The Congress on Wednesday defended party general secretary Rahul Gandhi's claim of 74 mounds of ash containing human remains having been found in Bhatta Parsaul village of Greater Noida and asked the Uttar Pradesh government to order a probe.
"Whatever has come in media (about Rahul's statement) in unfortunate. Nowhere did he (Gandhi) mention the number of 74 or 74 bodies. Rahul Gandhi had only said that at one place an ash heap of 70 foot area was there in which bones were found," Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi told journalists in Delhi.
Rahul, on Monday, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with some farmers and handed over pictures of burnt bodies, ashes with bones and ransacked houses in Bhatta Parsaul village.
He also said the state government had committed rapes and other atrocities on local people. Bhatta Parsaul was hit by violence following a clash between the Uttar Pradesh government and farmers over land acquisition.
Dwivedi clarified that Rahul had informed Prime Minister people's allegations against the police. He was asked to comment on Rahul's allegation that women had been raped in Bhatta Parsaul and other villages.
"This is a matter of investigation. It should be investigated. If bones have been found, whose bones are these should be found out. And if atrocities have taken place against women and they were even beaten up, why has it happened," said Dwivedi.
"People must have told him (Rahul). He was not present there. He went later on. Whatever has been told to him, he must have repeated that. Naturally whenever you go after some incidents, whatever people tell you, you repeat those things.
"That matter should be investigated. If it is not correct, it is alright. But if it is correct, it is a very serious matter. Whatever may be the fact, this should come out," he said.
Samajwadi Party demands probe
'The Samajwadi Party, Uttar Pradesh's main Opposition, backed Congress's demand for a probe and said that the Centre should seek a report from governor on the situation in Uttar Pradesh and dismiss the chief minister Mayawati's government.
"Now the central government should seek a report from the state governor without any delay and dismiss this unjust and corrupt government," party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said in a statement.